On January 13, 2000, in the 6th Circuit Court of the County of Oakland, Michigan, Judge Eugene Arthur Moore delivered an outstanding sentencing opinion in the case of Nathaniel Abraham, who at age 11 was charged with murder. At age 13 he was convicted of 2nd-degree murder in a case that attracted national attention and trial coverage on Court TV.
Judge Moore’s opinion reflected a depth of understanding, reason, caring, and compassion in a difficult case with a series of critical issues relating to sentencing, treatment, and rehabilitation of a preteen when tried in adult court. Each of these issues Judge Moore has addressed with deep consideration for a troubled child who at the time of the offense was functioning at a 7-year level. Judge Moore did this while maintaining a strong sense of judicial responsibility, an outstanding effort.
Because of the importance of his sentencing opinion, with his permission, we have reproduced it here.
The trial is over and now we face an equally important decision. What should the sentence or disposition be for Nathaniel Abraham. The decision will have an enormous effect on both Nathaniel and society.
In 1999 we celebrated the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Juvenile Court in America. It started in 1899 in Cook County, Chicago. Its roots were in England during the Industrial Revolution. During the Industrial